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Fodor's Expert Review Island Inn Hotel

Aquatic Gap, Garrison, St. Michael, Barbados See on Map

Jane Zarem

Constructed in 1804 as a rum storage facility for the British Regiment, this quaint, all-inclusive boutique hotel is less than a mile from Bridgetown, steps from beautiful Pebbles Beach on Carlisle Bay, and a short walk from the Garrison Historic District sites—including the fascinating Barbados Museum and the horse races at Garrison Savannah.

room

While the main hotel building itself is 200+ years old, the accommodations are quite stylish and up-to-date. The contemporary décor and furnishings are, basically, tan, gold, white…and wood. Artwork on the walls reflects the color scheme. Guestrooms form a horseshoe around the brick courtyard, pool, and gardens. Rooms in the hotel’s original building have exposed brick on interior walls and garden or courtyard views. Other rooms have French doors that open to a patio and the hotel pool. Junior suites have sitting areas and can accommodate four adults or two adults and two children. All rooms are air-conditioned—important to know in a historic hotel!

YOU SHOULD KNOW Rooms near the front are near the restaurant and lounge and, therefore, may be noisier than rooms toward the rear of the property; rooms in the front also don't have a patio.

bathroom

The bathrooms are large and, well, stunning, with neutral walls and tiling, and modern facilities—tub/shower, granite-topped vanity with a basin sink, large mirror, and good lighting.

Staying for awhile? You'll love the walk-in closet.

lobby

The reception area is small and, unfortunately, the only place where Wi-Fi is available. In the courtyard, though, a glass-enclosed (air-conditioned) lounge with comfortable seating is where guests get together to chat, watch sports on TV, or play board games. The lounge is open 24 hours a day.

pool

A small pool at the rear of the courtyard abuts a cascading fountain. At night, the fountain becomes a wall of lights—magically transforming the pool area into a romantic setting. Plenty of sun loungers are set up near the pool. The bar opens at 10 a.m., so a cool drink is always available to sun worshippers.

A special treat: The all-inclusive rates include a scuba diving lesson in the pool.

dining

The Boardwalk Restaurant serves three meals a day. Dinner blends local and international cuisine—buffet style on Wednesday and Friday nights; table d’hote, other nights. And three nights a week, there’s live entertainment at dinner. A traditional English afternoon tea is served daily. All meals are included in the rates.

The chef will gladly prepare a picnic basket for you to take to the beach or on a day's outing (24 hours notice).

drinking

The bar is open from mid-morning until 11 pm every day. All beverages are included in the room rates, except for champagne, specialty wine, and bottled water.

For a change of pace…uh, vice…try your luck at the slot machines in the arcades next door to the hotel and across the street.

beach

The hotel is not on the beach, but Pebbles Beach—a strip of pure white sand (no pebbles) on Carlisle Bay—is just around the corner. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas there. Kayaks, jet skis, and paddleboards are available, too.

LOCATION

Getting Around

There’s a lot to do within walking distance, but buses to Bridgetown or Oistins pass frequently along Bay Street ($1 per trip). Taxis are always available for short trips or a day of touring. A rental car isn’t really necessary here, and parking on the street would be a nuisance.

Restaurants

Practically next door to Island Inn, Brown Sugar (5-minute walk) serves a full Bajan buffet (dozens of courses) at lunchtime and a full menu for dinner. In Bridgetown, on The Careenage, Waterfront Café (10-minute drive or 20-minute walk) is a great place for alfresco dining at lunch or for dinner accompanied (some nights) by live jazz.

On the waterfront in Rockley, Champers (5-minute drive) is a classy but comfortable place to enjoy lunch or dinner. Farther east at St. Lawrence Gap, try Primo Bar & Bistro (10-minute drive) for delicious seafood and an excellent view or Café Sol (5-minute drive) for Tex-Mex (or Gringo) cuisine and extraordinary margaritas

The Oistins Fish Fry (5-minute drive) is a must-do event on Friday evenings. All along the waterfront in this south coast fishing village, local folks grill fresh fish (and chicken for landlubbers), served with traditional Bajan sides. Seating is at communal picnic tables, servings are huge, prices are low, and music adds to the fun.

Bars

A stroll along Bay Street toward Bridgetown will take you to The Boatyard (10-minute walk), a lively beach bar that’s open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Bubba’s Sports Bar (5-minute drive) in Rockley has three video screens and a dozen TVs, along with bar food and, of course, drinks. A little farther east, St. Lawrence Gap has a lot of nighttime activity. Try The Old Jamm Inn or Scoopie's Jazz (10-minute drive) for drinks, music, and dancing.

WHY WE LIKE IT

A perfect choice if you’re looking for charm, peace and quiet, and proximity to a great beach and plenty of offsite activities.

QUICK FACTS

Business, Historical
24 rooms
Breakfast Yes
Lunch Yes
Dinner Yes
Bar Yes
Cafe No
Room Service Yes
$$$
Pool
Yes
No

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 246-436–6393

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